With no use for them anymore as a now solar-energy plant, the owner of the former Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo will be redistributing hundreds of storm sirens to Linn County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), to upgrade their severe weather warning capabilities.

Intended as a donation, it will cost the county--big

NextEra Energy had planned to donate 144 of the sirens to the county, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, but the catch is, they will cost $175,200 per year to maintain. Linn County EMA approved the plan, and despite the best efforts of county supervisor Louis Zumbach, who wanted the cost to be split between the individual towns and cities in Linn County, the county itself will foot the bill.

Some see the benefit of the county handling the financing

Marion fire chief Deb Krebill said it makes more sense because as she sees it, it would otherwise cause more financial hardship on smaller towns in Linn County. With the hugest city in the county also being the second-largest in the state, would the cost really be split evenly?

While Linn County will own them all, they will share with Benton County

It's expected that Linn County will take 109 of the sirens, with 36 going to Benton County, and not all cities in these counties will be required to join the "siren network". These particular sirens will be used in a coordinated system. Non-participating locations will continue with their existing severe weather warning systems. The "new" sirens are, ideally, to be distributed to where there isn't adequate nearby storm warning coverage, such as parks.

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